No Blackwater in Pakistan, Malik tells National Assembly

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ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the talk of US security agency Blackwater’s presence in Pakistan, Federal Minister for Interior Affairs Rehman Malik said on Wednesday that 483 foreigners were living in the capital and all of them were civilians.
Responding to a query during question-hour in the National Assembly, the minister said none of the foreigners living in the capital were from Blackwater or any other foreign agency. He told the house that the Ministry of Finance had provided Rs 112.26 million in the 2009-10 annual budget to the Ministry of Interior.
He said the money was donated by the US embassy’s Narcotic Affairs section and that the Interior Ministry was not the direct recipient of financial assistance; rather as per rules of business, foreign aid was the subject of the Economic Affairs Division.
Replying to another question, he said Khyber Pakhtunkhawa made huge sacrifices in the war on terror, the fact that is acknowledged all over the world. “We will allocate a large portion of the financial assistance to KPK,” he added.
State Minister for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar told the audience that the government was taking measures to put the lid on prices; consequently providing relief to the public. Hina said the government was providing Rs 20 billion to the public in the power sector.
She added that the government would generate Rs 25 billion through the Reformed General Sales Tax(RGST), and it would be implemented soon. Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim told the House that a proposal was under consideration to ban export of cattle, citing the loss of cattle during the recent floods.
He said the smuggling of animals would be taken up with the authorities concerned. Fahim said betel leaves were being imported from Australia, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, China, Hong Kong, Mayotte, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
He added betel leaves worth $5.7 million were imported during 2009-2010 and an amount of $59 million was spent on the import of betel nuts during the said period. He said that the export of leather garments had declined from $ 392.5 million in 2008-09 to $ 343.3 million in 2009-2010 due to recession and power shortages.